About Me

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Technically speaking, I'm a dietitian, but I see myself as a listener, a motivator, coach and teacher of nutrition. I prefer to end a busy day with a glass of red wine while chopping vegetables. Lover of almost anything pickled and fresh baked scones just not at the same time. I'm happiest when I'm cooking for people I love. Why am I so into food? Because I KNOW how much eating well can change your life. What you eat every day is going to impact your body and your mind. It's a confusing world out there - full of diet and food advice that always leaves you feeling like it's that one next diet that's going to be the weight loss answer. Stop waiting for that magic diet, and begin to take one step at a time in the right direction. I'm here to help you on your life-long journey, there's no better time to start!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Are you out of touch with your food?

Well, starting a new job a couple weeks ago led me off the blogging path for a bit... but this weekend has inspired me to share with you something that I always try to make a part of my day - being in touch with what I eat.  Working with dozens of different people each week to help improve their diets can be challenging in many ways, but one thing I notice so frequently is how out of touch Americans are with their food. Unfortunately- I can't step into my clients' kitchens, grocery shop for them, or plant a box of gourmet lettuces outside their back door to help them make getting in touch with their food a priority.  Many dietitians I know agree, that food is medicine, and eating well is the most important thing you can do for your health.  Have you ever realized how you can feel so crappy from an unhealthy food choice after eating... or how you can feel so great after just one day of eating well - fueling your body the way it needs to be fueled?  Now that's powerful stuff if you ask me.

Ok.. now about getting in touch with your food.  Think about a typical day for you - what and where do you eat breakfast, where does that food come from?  How far did it travel to get to your plate? Are you eating a Starbucks egg sandwich, perhaps a scone, bowl of cereal, or instant oatmeal?  Do you know anything about any of those foods - have  any idea where those oats were grown? Do you have a clue where the eggs in that breakfast sandwich were shipped from and then prepared before they got to the facility that put the eggs together with a piece of ham from another far away corner of the country... and then traveled to another destination that finally shrink wrapped it and put it in a box to be delivered to one of the hundreds of Starbucks locations in your city? A little overwhelming to think of it that way isn't it?  The truth is, most of us are completely out of touch with the food we eat every day. I want to encourage you to take some small, realistic steps to getting more in touch with your food - and just by default I think you will be eating better, appreciating your food more,  slowing down a bit and perhaps even eating less as a result.

So, what have I been doing to get more in touch with my food?  About 4 weeks ago, John and I cleared a plot of weeds and dead palms in our front yard, got our hands dirty, and planted a vegetable garden.  4 short weeks later we are no longer buying bagged lettuce from the store. We are eating fresh picked salads right out of our own soil.  I can't describe to you how flavorful and tender freshly picked salad greens are.  We're waiting on the squash, beets, onions, carrots, peppers and tomatoes. The herbs - the herbs are fantastic. Basil, thyme. parsley, cilantro and chives. Absolutely delish! Although I've known before how great it was going to be to finally get off the pre-packaged salad bandwagon - I never realized I was going to have such appreciation for each little leaf, and taste the difference between each variety, and really slow down when eating my salad.  It has truly brought me a new appreciation for our food supply, the variety of choices we have available, and how much work, energy, and time goes into producing food.  Here is a picture of the greens and herbs from Thursday's dinner:

Ok, so I'm well aware that not everyone has the space to plant an outdoor garden, and that in most places of the country summer is disappearing and fall then winter is upon us.  Do your best to buy what's in season locally where you live. Maybe its potatoes, spinach, butternut squash, cranberries, pumpkins... there are so many choices if you open your eyes, ask questions, and think outside your usual box. We are trying to switch things up here to eat better, so push yourself outside your comfort zone and take a look around.  Nutrients and taste will be far better if you can minimize the travel time between farm and table - not to mention the benefit to our environment.  I met with a pro athlete from Africa who was not eating vegetables. When I asked why, he told me the vegetables in our country tasted bad, like chemicals. I knew then he was right - most likely getting conventionally grown produce, artificially ripened after it was picked, and transported from 1,500 miles away. Many people ask me,  "Is eating conventionally grown produce better than not eating any produce at all?" I think, yes.  But is there a big difference between that and organic, vine-ripened, locally produced fruits and vegetables? - Absolutely. The point is to slow down, really taste what you're eating and appreciate it.  If you do this at all your meals, you will fill up on less food and get much more of an experience rather than just a plate full of calories.

Besides growing your own, or buying locally grown food - there are other ways I want to encourage you to get in touch with your food.  This one is hard to beat.  Make it yourself! Now that we have moved, unpacked, planted the garden, thrown our housewarming party and the summer is over - things are finally slowing down and I can spend a bit more time in the kitchen.  This weekend it was all about baking.  Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with walnuts. You're probably thinking - the dietitian must have taken out the butter - added some fiber junk, used fake sugar.. blah blah blah.  Nope! These cookies are the real deal.  Remember, how we are Not On A Diet?  Fresh baked cookies fit right in to a healthy and normal eating pattern.  We knocked on a few doors last night and gave our new neighbors a plate of warm cookies - chocolate chips still gooey and all. There's something really warm and fuzzy about surprising someone with fresh baked cookies that feels even better than eating one! Share your food experience: invite friends over for a local organic dinner party or potluck; or bring in something to share with co-workers. You will have a great day at work - I promise.  Don't forget about the joy and pleasure of eating delicious foods, whether it is fresh arugula out of your garden, or fresh cookies straight from the oven.  

I also made pumpkin flax muffins - yes, these are made from a recipe that was altered to lower some fat, improve the protein and fiber and still taste great.  I'm not trying to confuse you,  but want you to see that not being on a diet is about balance, moderation; viewing food for what is provides us and also appreciating it for the experience and pleasure it can create. The cookies are for treats, not so much for breakfast. I would love to tell you to grab cookies for breakfast but I'd like you to try and start your day off with some protein and fiber...which are just what these muffins have.  I like to freeze them and have for an easy grab-and-go breakfast or snack.  It's better than a packaged bar filled with sugar  and preservatives. The  pumpkin is packed with nutrients and the flavors of fall are perfect for this time of year.

So whether  its fresh vegetables or fresh baked cookies - this week slow down, enjoy, and do your best to get back in touch with your food in some way.  Eat something local this week - leave a comment and tell me what you ate!

1 comment:

  1. A Tastycake ... it's local from Philly and I can't get them in LA. Oaf.

    More seriously, I am looking forward to getting back to the Santa Monica FM for some fresh, local delights that are a little more "clean" than the Kandy Kakes.

    You offer excellent advice!